Tobit Roche

Tobit spent his childhood in Hong Kong, Canada and India. After studying at the Ontario College of Art, Canada, he spent a year living and working with Duncan Grant at Charleston, Sussex, before completing his studies at Camberwell Art School.  He now divides his time between London and Hastings and makes frequent visits to India, which continues to be an inspiration for his work.  His small paintings on board capture a moment in the landscape. These immediate observations provide the basis for his larger paintings worked on in the studio from memory and imagination.  Layers of paint are built up in glazes and scumbles using both hands and brushes.  As the subject begins to emerge, Tobit’s paintings also take on a spiritual quality and a sense of the romantic sublime.

He has “been under the spell of India” since his teenage years which were spent in New Delhi and he maintains that India is still his spiritual home.  Roche grew up amongst artists; his father (who was born in India) was the poet and novelist Paul Roche, who modelled for the Bloomsbury artist Duncan Grant.  His landscapes are imbued with the particular haze and atmosphere of the Indian subcontinent.

The paintings in this exhibition can be divided into those Roche completed in the studio from memory, and those he made en plein air using a homemade pochade paint box. This allowed him to carry three wet panels and a fresh pallet on his shoulder while trekking in Rajasthan and the Himalayas, in the spirit of countless pioneering painters of the past.

These paintings are “about longing and nostalgia,” says Roche. “I show a view of India which is intensely personal and is based on my emotional reaction to this country. When I am there, I get very moved by the spirit of the landscape, which is the spirit of the people.”

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